« ForrigeFortsæt »
is willing to give you at once? It is because you know that if you accept the pardon of God at once, you must also, at once, live a life in accordance with that pardon—that is, a life of holiness. You delay pardon that you may put off repentance ; you postpone absolution that you may defer holiness; in fine, you do not wish for the pardon of your sins until the day of judgment, in order that you may remain in your sins until the day of judgment; and your deceitful heart says to you, • I can continue as I have commenced, for God will pardon me. But the Bible says, God pardons thee now; thou must turn, repent, and change thy life now. So that if you reject the boundless goodness of my God-if you accommodate yourself to the partial or dwarfed goodness of your god, it is simply because you love sin and wish to live in sin."
“Gentlemen,” said the tutor, “this is much too strong."
“ Calm yourself, sir; I assert nothing without proofs. For instance, you, sir (although you are not aware of it), you are not sorry to retain the belief in a purgatory, because it will always be a means of redeeming the little sins that
will repeatedly commit; this thought makes you easy. A sin more-never mind, that will not damn mema little longer purgatory, that is all; besides, purgatory may be abridged by masses, and there will be time to leave direction as to masses in my will. Finally, the passions turn a change in your heart without being compromised by conscience."
A malicious smile played upon the lips of the unbeliever, who had spoke of annihilation.”
“ And you, sir," said the incorrigible lecturer, "you prefer to believe in annihilation because thus, having nothing to fear in a future life, you feel that you need not deny yourself any. thing in this. All that the tribunals of men do not repress, you fancy to be allowable; and as voluptuousness, egotism, and vanity are things that are not branded by public opinion, it is pleasant to you to think that all this may be practised in this world and not punished in another, since, after public opinion, and human tribunals, there is nothing but annihilation. This is why you would limit the goodness of God to this
world. Your principles and your life accord, and you say, “ If the dead rise not, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.' - Admirable!” said the young man;
an admirable sermon! And these gentlemen-will they not have their part ?"
“ Yes; but I scarcely need repeat what I have already said to you; I only add, that Monsieur wishes that God may pardon slight sins and punish crime, because he thinks he shall only have to reproach himself with little sins, and hopes he may never commit great crimes; so that he proportions the goodness of God to the measure of his own wants; he says, Let God pardon according to the measure of my sins, and he may punish beyond that if he will. He is not sorry, even, to admit that there is a degree of condemnable culpability, because he thus can obtain an easy victory to his self-love, and, after all, be better than others. And if the gentleman who is there so magnified the goodness of God as to believe that all men and every crime will be pardoned, it is because he finds it more convenient not to be restrained by any limits. I do not say that Monsieur could be capable of committing a crime. God forbid that I should have such a thought. But he wishes to spare himself that little sting of conscience which sometimes will, perhaps, trouble him; and in order to avoid the embarrassment of imposing a line of demarcation to the course he would permit himself to indulge in, he says to himself, God is too good to condemn any creature.”
“And you, Mr. Preacher, you, who judge others so well, what do you think of yourself? Will you tell us ?”
Willingly. I believe myself to be the most miserable of sinners—more miserable before God than you all put together. My conscience and the word of God tell me that I have done evil every day of my life. Thus, when I learned from this Bible that God offers me the pardon of all my sins, and an entrance into his house, on the sole condition of my trusting in Jesus Christ; when I learned that, to possess all these blessings, I have only to receive them and they are instantly
* 1 Cor. xv. 32.
mine, oh! from that moment I accepted them with joy, and understood that I was at once a child of God, an heir of heaven, and that, consequently, I could no longer live so as to grieve my Father, in a manner unworthy of my new country. I understood that, since God has so loved me, my love to Him ought to be unbounded, and that even my whole life will not be long enough to testify my love by my obedience. No doubt I often fall into evil; but, at least, I can bear witness that it is always with deep regret, and that I never recover from it without renewed strength for future trial. In a word, I acknowledge that, since God pardons me entirely and from this time, I feel obliged to obey him entirely and from this time.”
The diligence now stopped ; and the conductor came to the door, and said, "M. le Pasteur, get ready, you have arrived."
“Ah! that is well—I thank you. Gentlemen, here is my village-I must leave you~I wish you a good journey-and remember, that the best god is, not the god of purgatory, not the god of Jean Jacques Rousseau, not the god of the world, not the god of annihilation, but is the God of the Bible. He pardons entirely and now-his salvation is free—but on him who refuses it rests condemnation.”
He alighted—the night wore on-each wrapped himself in his mantle, and the diligence continued its journey, bearing the travellers, plunged in their reflections.
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London.
THE LATE CAPTAIN VICARS.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith." “ In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” LIFE in many a varied aspect characterized an English port. Ships of every description lay idly at anchor, while their colours rose and fell with the breeze ; others, as though envious of such a lot, were making the land; while not a few, with the trim yet troubled exterior which distinguishes an “outward bound" vessel, were evidently on the eve of starting. Such was the position of a noble transport. Great seemed the strain upon her cable, as though she were anxious to break the link which bound her to the shore; continuous, the stream of passengers which flooded her deck; self-important, the faces of the hurrying seamen ; authoritative, the voice of command which rose above every sound. But if the memory of Nelson was cherished there, there were hearts which beat faster at the name of Wellington. In all the pride of military attire, which contrasted well with the more sober dress of the British sailor, stood the 97th regiment. Bravely did the stern brow and fearless eye conceal the grief within ; and though the thought of home and country must be ever fresh; though the possibility of an endless exile could not but be apparent—England was not blamed for asking too much, and the foreign shores of West Indian climes seemed less distant through the glass of duty.
The last words, the last prayer, of a widowed mother were, methought, still echoing in the heart of one in that corps. Over his head but seventeen summers had passed, and now he must bid farewell to the hearth where the glowing embers of a mother's love must ever associate it with all that is pure and holy. Fain would she ever be his guardian angel; gladly would she still be at hand to counsel, to warn; but it must not be. Their course must now be separate, yet may their goal be one; their pursuits must now be different, yet may their aim be one; absent from each other in body, they may be
yet present in spirit, and the many-linked invisible chain unite them in the communion of saints.” Many are the tears which accompany that parting; yet is there a bow in the cloud," and the Sun of Righteousness, entering the tear-drops as they silently fall, spreads over the now illumined grief-cloud the brilliant arch stamped with the impress of heaven—" Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me.” Christian mothers ! ye whose words of love still breathe the Spirit of Christ, and whose daily life is a living epistle for the Saviour; and ye, whose glorified spirits have put off mortality and entered into life-eternity alone will unfold the priceless value of your labours ! How numerous the imitators of “the unfeigned faith” that was in thee Eunice, and
was in thee Eunice, and in thee Monica ! Surely there was a secret brightness which hovered around that departing ship; almost might the ear of faith, amid the “ distant harping round the eternal throne,” have heard the strings tuned for a salvation chorus; verily, could angels have predicted the future, there would have been an anticipative note in the redemption song, for ere long there would be joy in heaven over a repenting sinner. And so the cable was loosed, the vessel stood out to sea, and the mother and son had parted.
“What fruit had ye then in those thiugs whereof ye are now ashamed." Five years had now sped away and the youth had become a
Removed at once from the restraints of home and the love of friends, he had found nothing in a foreign land to supply their place. His Bible, that last gift of his widowed mother, had been mislaid and lost. Far was that distant shore from fostering the precious seed; it could not thrive in that ungenial climate. Unhealthy as it was to the outer man, the inner found it blighting, withering. It caine in contact with unholy influences; it was surrounded by unhallowed associations; it had to grapple with the dictates of the world, and in a measure drank into its spirit ; thought still recurred to his mother, but the pleaded prayer, the cherished hope, which she must ever feel for him, seemed forgotten ; and that sweet name was associated rather with the guardian of childhood than the sacred task of " holding the little hands in prayer.” Were five years more to pass without an answer to her prayer ? “At the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry !"
“Is anything too hard for the Lord ?” The wind moaned fitfully in its course over the cotton plantations, or swept in stronger gusts through the leaves of the stately timber trees, as he sought the room of a brother officer. Not finding him within, he resolved to await his return. But why that start ? Why' that astonished and perplexed look ? What can have so unnerved him as to make the strong man tremble, and falter out an anxious inquiry ? His hand is on the best of books; his eyes are riveted upon the glowing contents. Not by mere chance, not by a lucky